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Old 01-18-2011, 06:33 AM   #1
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solid fuel heater?

I have a nice boiler set up in my boat. With fuel prices rising I'm looking for an alternative source of heat, other than electric.

Ive looked at the sardine wood stoves as well as the tiny tot charcoal stoves and am wondering if anyone has any experience with ANY solid fuel stove on board a boat.

Charcoal doesn't do anything for me because of the cost to buy the charcoal. I think EPA regulations are the only reason tiny tot stoves now say charcoal when they were originally meant for coal.

thanks
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:48 PM   #2
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RE: solid fuel heater?

The main problem with solid fuel stoves, is handling/hauling/storing/igniting/using the solid fuel, then disposing of the ash.* In any application, it is*difficult to provide steady heat, and may require a significant amount of operator attention.

Coal/charcoal briquets are not a clean fuel, and wood is not a very good alternative, unless you can install an air-tight and have the storage available to utilize a high-quality wood type.* Burning driftwood from the beaches can be a popular wood alternative, but the stove may not last very long with wood from*a salt water source.

The largest and most convenient source of heating energy on most*boats, is the engine fuel (diesel).
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Old 01-18-2011, 06:30 PM   #3
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RE: solid fuel heater?

I would think a solid fuel heater would be a nice addition rather than a stand alone heat source.Shipmate makes some beautiful small heaters. The enameled stoves would be pleasant on a cold night with a cup of coffee. I think cut up pallet wood could be used for no cost alternative to driftwood.
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Old 01-18-2011, 07:53 PM   #4
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RE: solid fuel heater?

I have a diesel boiler. I'm trying to cut cost as it's costing
Me 100$ per week right now with fuel prices @ $3.50 per gal. I need a source of heat that I can use dockside through the winter and when power goes out. I think
Wood is my best option.
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Old 01-18-2011, 07:56 PM   #5
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RE: solid fuel heater?

Albin, I am thinking a smallish space heater just for your sleeping area would work...no? ANd heat the whole boat when needed/on demand. But just for localized heating, a space heater should do it and not cost anywhere near 100 bucks a week.
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:00 PM   #6
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RE: solid fuel heater?

Albin,* I guess the up side is you don't have to worry about having any stale fuel by the time Spring comes around.** I have often thought a system like yours would yield the most comfortable heating in a Northren environment.

What size boiler did you install?** If you could post some pics of your installation I would like to see how you handled the exhaust flue up thru the boat to the outside.

How high is the chimney? What temperature do you maintain inside the boat? Do you heat the domestic water with it also?

I suppose* if you had a fitted heavy canvas winter cover you would burn less fuel.
I have seen some nice ones on a liveaboard boat in Conn. That had plastic windows to let in light and an opening on top for the exhaust stack. They looked real comfy.

Take care.** JohnP
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Old 01-19-2011, 04:44 AM   #7
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RE: solid fuel heater?

Believe it or not COAL is about the best hard fuel.

All the boat heaters are small , so installing a nights (8+hrs) of fuel is a hassle.

The trick to coal is to purchase a Ton and get a pile of paper bags that are a single load for the combustion chamber.

Double bag the coal charge , stapleing the bags shut and store the bags in a large plastic garbage can , with a lid.

When its time to leave the boat , or hit the sack , shake down, toss in a bag and close the dampers to slow burn.

Depending on weight of fuel , you will have modest heat for 8-12 hours.
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:40 AM   #8
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RE: solid fuel heater?

Quote:
albin43 wrote:
Wood is my best option.
I haven't done the calculations re the cost per BTU between diesel oil and wood but when I had the old tug I seriously considered a pellet stove. Friends had them, one on a boat, a couple others in their homes or ski cabins and they really work well and are relatively clean ... if solid fuel can ever be called clean.

If you are paying for taxed diesel fuel for heating you really are throwing money up the stack. It is worth your while to install a separate heating oil tank and purchase stove oil or heating oil. By the sound of it, you will recoup the costs pretty quickly.

*
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:45 AM   #9
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RE: solid fuel heater?

I burned a coal boiler for 20 plus years at my house in Ct. There is a LOT of ash with coal and it is very dusty, no matter how careful you are. Yes it will easily last all* night, but I would not burn coal on a boat because of the mess.

If you want to save $$ insulate the boat better for winter.
If you want a backup for power outages consider propane or a an old fashioned kerosene heater.
Or a pellet stove. It probably can run for a long time on an inverter (if it has a blower).
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Old 01-19-2011, 06:34 AM   #10
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RE: solid fuel heater?

My electric is metered at the dock. I pay $0.18 per KWH. I would need 3 space heaters running 24/7 (1500 watt) which comes out to $600 per month. The boiler is costing me $400 in fuel. I turn the heat down to 55 when I go to work. Then anywhere from 60 to 65 when I'm onboard usually a small space heater pointed at me sitting on the couch. When I go to sleep I turn it down to 60 and use an electric blanket. I was keeping at 69-70 before but was using way to much fuel. I have insulated some obvious areas of heat loss and done the clear shrink film on the sliding windows and a few fixed ones as well. The fly bridge is shrink wrapped and most of the boat holds snow. I'd love to insulate it but it would ruin the interior of the boat. Without putting new wall paneling and trim everywhere it would be impossiable. Let alone look like a home depot project boat. I will post photos of the boiler setup tomorrow. It's a burnham residential boiler. I forget what model exactally but I will find out. I'm looking for just some extra heat while I'm home. The boiler can run on low to maintain the temp when I'm at work. I have portiable propane backup right now but don't like using it. As far as home heating oil goes; no one will fill a boat because of liability, therefore i use my dads 100 gal tank in his truck. The won't fill that either. They only discount on 300 gal or more.. Otherwise it's the same as taxed road fuel. Last winter I shrunkwraped the boat... Not sure how much it helped honestly. The $100 a week will be the death of me!
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Old 01-19-2011, 07:08 AM   #11
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solid fuel heater?

"It's a burnham residential boiler"

I*installed one of those in my home 3 years ago. Nice unit.

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Old 01-19-2011, 07:44 AM   #12
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solid fuel heater?

A lot of folks with dirt houses pay 400 per month to heat their homes.* Sure they are a lot bigger than a boat but dirt houses are not as fun.* Bottom line is,*if you live *in the North in the Winter it costs a lot to stay warm.


I tend to agree with Carl Stone. Those oil filled radiators work well, and by managing the heated zones can be*operated* reasonably.

*Before*you seal the boat up too tight make sure your carbon monoxide detector is working okay.

Take Care.* JohnP

-- Edited by JohnP on Wednesday 19th of January 2011 08:50:31 AM
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Old 01-19-2011, 08:22 AM   #13
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RE: solid fuel heater?

Wow! If my passion for living aboard was that strong, I'd move the boat to a warmer climate. (And did!)

Jeez, snow, ice, shrink wrapping, falling overboard, high utility bills, 60-65degrees, ?????????* What am I missing here? The family all lives around your area?
In this day of excellent communication systems, it isn't that hard to be in touch with loved ones, daily!

Let the bricks & bats begin!
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Old 01-19-2011, 08:43 AM   #14
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RE: solid fuel heater?

I would move south in a heartbeat. Im 22 years old and have a long Rochester life ahead of me (very sadly). we have a tool & die company here that my brother and I will take over. If it wasnt for that I would have moved south a year ago.

old stone, you lived aboard the egg harbor? where in NYC? what do the people on the Albin 43 do for heat? how do you keep it that warm with electric oil heaters????

I hate to compare heating my boat to a house. thats insulated. the boat is about 400 sq ft max.
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Old 01-19-2011, 10:26 AM   #15
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RE: solid fuel heater?

carl, thank you for the kind word and advice, i apperciate it. how warm do you keep the egg harbor? do you live aboard the trawler now? still own both boats? I hope you arnt heating both of them!!!

the major flaw with my heating system is that the most heating elements are in my salon, as heat rises that doesnt do too much good for the lower state room and galley. i seal off the forward v berth and head as they are not used.

my brother is looking at a 1979 marine trader 49... im looking forward to see how ends up heating that if he buys it.

this summer im going to re do some of me heating runs..
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:25 AM   #16
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RE: solid fuel heater?

$3.50 for oil? We don't pay much more in Alaska. And $0.35 per KWH? We DON'T pay that much. Ours is about $0.22. Sorry but I'm going to talk about houses. We have a 3000 sq ft house and oil heat. Our double pane windows aren't huge and the walls are 9 to 10" thick and well insulated. Our boiler is a double condensing type and we have hot water pumped through the floors. I can get the figures later but the cost isn't bad. We have a Wabasto on our boat and it needs to run all the time at 32 degrees. NO INSULATION. The sources of heat are rather fixed in their cost and output but insulative properties of both boats and houses varies a lot. I remember someone living aboard a boat in Juneau Alaska years ago that was very well insulated w foam. The house had plastic windows (much less heat loss) and most of his windows were covered w foam cut out to fit. His only source of heat was one 1500kw space heater and it was 15 degrees and toasty warm in his boat. The boat (some are old enough to remember) was a "LAND and SEA 28'). It was a cathedral hull that doubled as a travel trailer.
All this is to point out that your problem is 99% insulation.
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:34 AM   #17
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RE: solid fuel heater?

i know my problem is lack of insulation, but I cant insulate and keep the original interior.
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Old 01-19-2011, 01:23 PM   #18
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RE: solid fuel heater?

City Island ,GREAT PIZZA , Traider John good breakfast shop and pure HELL in the summer.

CI is where the Slums meet the Sea. And on a hot Sat night or Sunday PM it can take 3 hours to get home.

I usually went to Wright Island in New Rochelle , or Imperial, the Mafia Laundry for winters .

Summered at Consolidated , end slip, bouncy but good air.
Bid a good sked for getting to La Garbage. LGA

For most motor vessels the high areas of glass is usually the killer.

The box store clear plastic film inside and out , shrunk smooth will help loads.

Heat the bed , electric sheet , not the whole boat.

NYC ,22 years , minus a half dozen in the Carib , ah the ladies!!!
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Old 01-19-2011, 01:38 PM   #19
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solid fuel heater?

Albin43,** Wow only 22,** I hate to preach but if you have business interests that will keep you in New York State,* I think you should winterize the boat and find more traditional digs.* Your folks house, the office, or buy a place comes to mind. You are up there for the long haul.* Might as well settle in.* A multi family dwelling will give you some rental income and you will have a place to be in the Winter.* Enjoy your boat 9 months a year.* Like your new Avatar.* JohnP

-- Edited by JohnP on Wednesday 19th of January 2011 02:40:34 PM
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Old 01-20-2011, 04:03 AM   #20
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RE: solid fuel heater?

"Not such good pizza anymore,"


Well then don't ever cross the GWB cause Pizza is a lost cause!

In Florida the cardboard box is better than what gets sold in resturants.

Guess we will have to visit Arthur Ave , for real pizza , the market and fresh made raviolly.

You will need air cond at Wright Island , it is 15 deg hotter than CI .

And you MUST go stern to in the slip Gonzo style!
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